Category Archives: Video Games

Are You Heading to Mech_Con?

On December 3rd, over in the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Canada, Piranha Games is hosting a day long BattleTech and Mechwarrior themed convention.

A variety of events and fun stuff is planned.  Many guests from various community members and companies are planning on attending, such as Jordan Weisman and Randall Bills or online media personalities from Twitch and such.

Mech_Con

In the best traditions of the Solaris VII Games, one of the headline events is the first World Championship of MechWarrior Online.  Don’t you want to establish dominance and win that trophy?

Hey look, everybody knows that we don’t always get a chance to flip some dice and push around metal the way it was meant to be in real life.  I’m playing online with stuff like MegaMek.  So, getting the chance to play live with real enthusiasts, purchase stuff from live vendors, get some autographs, and rub noses and talk shop with with all of you folks is a great opportunity.

So what about you?  Are you heading over?  Why not check out all of the information they have to see if you are interested in getting your ‘Mech on, Vancouver style!

Interview with Jordan Weisman about the BATTLETECH game at GenCon 2016

At GenCon 2016 last weekend, we were treated to an awesome surprise: a playable Super-Pre-Alpha demo of BATTLETECH.

This game is going to be awesome.

The Super-Pre-Alpha demo was playable by anyone attending the convention, and featured a single mission where your lance attempts to capture a salvage base.  I had the opportunity to play it for a while and left feeling giddy and wanting more.  It’s exciting to see the game in such a playable state just 9 months after the Kickstarter wrapped up.

Afterward I stopped drooling over the game, I had a chance to chat with Jordan Weisman, creator of BattleTech (the table top game) and co-founder of Harebrained Schemes to talk about BATTLETECH.

BATTLETECH game

Nic Jansma (sarna.net): I spoke with Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain of HBS last year here at GenCon 2015.  Since then, Harebrained Studios raised $2.7m in an extremely successful Kickstarter.  And only 9 months later, and you brought a playable demo to GenCon.  That’s awesome!  Your team has accomplished a lot.

Jordan Weisman: We have!  It’s exciting the way this development process has gone.

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Kickstarter Awards Arrive for BattleTech Video Game

Well, it arrived today!  I was one of many Kickstarter backers of the various levels for Harebrained Schemes’ BattleTech Video game, slated for release next year.

Like many folks I backed at a high enough pledge to get both some nice BattleTech swag, as well as some strong comfort in helping to bring back a major video game opportunity for the franchise.  We need an infusion of marketing and interest.  Hopefully the latest video game will prove just the ticket!

It’s hard for me to find swag anywhere but online these days, so it was nice for me to open up my sweet bag of Draconis Combine swag.  Here it is!

Swag = Mag

Swag = Mag

I’m pretty stoked! I’m wearing my Draconis Combine pin to work tomorrow!

Did you order anything?  Has it arrived?  What did you get?  And who’s ready for some BattleTech?

Sarna Wiki: Project Video Games

After some time off, I’ve returned to editing the Sarna.net wiki and have plenty of ideas for improving the wiki. As usual, there’s the constant need for new articles and article updates, as well as the ever-growing pile of articles that need proofreading. I want to pick up where I left off with the unofficial “project video games”.

'Mech combat on Cermak

‘Mech combat on the planet Cermak

With this project we are aiming to vastly improve our coverage of the various video games in the BattleTech universe. Though these games are not expressly canon, they still are an important part of the ongoing universe and deserve better coverage than they have gotten.

So far, we have quantified and organized all the MechCommander and MechCommander 2 equipment stats, but the ’Mech and vehicle pages for the original MechCommander need work. With more help for those pages and for all the MechWarrior games’ related pages, these video games could be much better covered.

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Techwars Online Reviewed

Get your Tech On!

Last week, Techwars Online, a Steam Greenlight success story, that made it through all of the hurdles, was released on Steam for ten dollars.  Well that certainly seems like a price worth trying out.  So I grabbed a copy of the game, and invested some time into figuring out this turn based tactical game featuring BattleMechs fighting it out.

To begin, you can move each of your units up to three hexes, with a twist of your torso counting as one.  And you can fire one weapon.  Each weapon has different ranges and firing arcs.  You may have short range lasers that can only reach 2-3 hexes away, or long range missiles which won’t fire close in at all, but which can hit with a spread out range.  Some weapons require a direct line to hit, like your main cannon, so moving, firing, and more is all important.  Also important is turning after firing to protect yourself.  It’s all about winning, not about how damaged your unit gets in the process, right?

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Techwars Online Released

Techwars Online is now out on Steam

Sometimes you are just looking for a little ‘Mech on ‘Mech action.  Whatever the Intellectual Property, and whatever the style, a quick little online PC action happening can solve that desire.  Load up the game, log on, and blast some folks.  That’s why a lot of us are playing games like Mechwarrior:  Online.  This week, another (mostly) online ‘Mech game was released as well.  Techwars Online.

Turn-Based Fun Times!

The game is an admitted throwback.  Slower, turned-based combat in a time of fast games.  It’s actually based on a Russian novel of the same name, set in the future as two mega-corps battle for supremacy with BattleMechs.  Starting in Greenlight, it arrived on Steam on May 17th.  You can pick it up from the Steam Store Page for $10.

In the game, you start with the same ‘Mech as others, and then can upgrade it or change out ammo over time.  Grab the game, try it out with others, and see if it’s your style!  Turn-based ‘Mech combat.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  Even if it doesn’t evoke BattleTech per se, sometimes you just gotta get your ‘Mech on!

MMNet Concludes Campaign and Announces Major Changes

Yay Mechs!

Yay Mechs!

On January 31st, the various electors that are running the current MegaMekNet Campaign announced that it will be concluding soon.  The Free Worlds League has won, and a new cycle will begin on March 1st.  In the wake of the victory, several major announcements were made to increase the value of the campaign in the future.  (MegaMekNet is an online campaign played through various shareware programs, you can download and check out)

The various members of the winning faction, as long as they had enough games to qualify, are going to win units for the next campaign, randomly pulled from a special reward unit list.  This is the first time that the winning faction for one campaign gets rewards for the next one, no matter whether they remain Marik or not.

Meanwhile, the way victory is determined will shift in the future.  Previously, one faction usually won when they assaulted and captured the capital of an enemy.   This has always created an inequity in the game as those states with a smaller path the capital (like the Capellan Confederation) are easier to defeat.  Meanwhile, it becomes pretty easy to know when one faction has “virtually” won and it’s hard to fight against that momentum.  Sometimes players won’t continue to invest time, sweat, blood, and metal in the campaign if it won’t change the outcome.

So how is the online campaign going to shift?  The goal won’t be to take capitals, but a new slate of “Victory Planets” that are placed on the borders.  All you have to do is to capture a net of these worlds from various fronts, and once you do, then you win.  Not only will this balance the books,  not only will it keep the campaign in flux, but it also will allow the campaign to better resemble the main line BattleTech wars.  Most wars and conflicts were ended by one side taking some key border planets from the other that were fought over.  So the resulting changes will give players the  ability to fight for border worlds that makes a campaign more dynamic as well as getting rewards for winning for the next one.

That’s a pretty spicy set of changes.  March 1st will be a good time to check it out and try the new campaign.  Check out their thread post for more info.

Alpha Strike mod for Table Top Simulator

A chance interception on Reddit alerted me to this new work-in-progress game mod for TableTop Simulator on the Steam Network. TTS is kind of a virtual reality environment for playing tabletop games. You manually move the pieces, dice and sheets interactively – just using a mouse instead of your hand.

I was told by one of the users that the BattleTech mod uses map tiles and differing altitude levels, which suggests a measure of customizability to the environment. Though they and the assorted models and preset record sheets are fairly limited in number at the moment. There are nineteen ‘spheroid ‘mechs in the first mech pack. Turduckens has a number of these terrains to choose from, including River Map, Open Terrain, etc. Traditional rule sets for BattleTech have also proven to be  too clunky to be used in TTS, but Alpha Strike works very well. Even when fighting with a company or more on each side. It almost reminds me of a less-flashy prototype of what MechWarrior Tactics was trying for.

It’s certainly no MegaMek – but perhaps that’s a good thing. With a simple rule set and richer graphical experience, not to mention Steam Network’s voice chat system, ‘River map’ might develop into quite a compliment to MegaMek.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

If you’re on Steam and feel like a game of Alpha Strike, or just want to check out the virtual models, it might be worth a look.